Jim Hodges and the Eros of the Everyday
When she first encountered Jim Hodges’s art—a patchwork of silk billowing in the breeze—Olga Viso was struck by how the piece conjured childhood memories. Nearly two decades later, as co-curator of a survey of Hodges’s work, she reflects on an artistic practice that’s “rooted in modesty, intimacy, and integrity—one that seeks to find the epic in the most mundane as well as the quotidian in the epic.”
St. Paul is spearheading a quiet revolution in public art. A 2009 city ordinance includes artists in the regulations by which the city makes and remakes itself. Here, artists don’t merely make sculptures and murals to adorn the urban landscape; they have a meaningful role in government. As a result, public art is so deeply placed in the workaday services of the city as to be indistinguishable from them.
I Am for an Art: Claes Oldenburg on His 1961 “Ode to Possibilities”
Claes Oldenburg’s most famous piece of writing, I Am For …, isn’t a manifesto. It’s a “slightly satirical ode or paean to the possibilities of using anything in one’s surroundings” to create art.
The Momentary Monument
Ten years after Thomas Hirschhorn pitched his idea for a temporary philosophy center on South Minneapolis’ Lake Street, the Swiss artist’s Gramsci Monument has been realized in the Bronx. Former Walker chief curator Philippe Vergne, now director of the Dia Art Foundation, discusses both projects and the ripple effect he hopes the New York “monument” leaves behind when it closes September 15.
Station to Station: Doug Aitken’s Polyphonic Culture Train
“Human beings need a starting point.” The motto for The Source, Doug Aitken’s video series on creativity’s origins, could easily be the slogan for Station to Station, the art train he’s taking across the US this month. While the trip has its concrete elements—a starting point, an ending point, some really heavy train cars—he sees it as entirely open-ended: whatever happens along the way is anybody’s guess.
Art for Eat’s Sake
“Art farmers”—from Matthew Moore and Fritz Haeg to Futurefarmers—have been turning their focus to food, writes Joseph Hart. Offering critiques of industrialized food, they’re also engaged in the search for solutions. Whether by demonstrating more holistic techniques and sources of food production or by exploring new forms of community interaction, they’re helping to define a new day for agriculture.
Animating Space: Martin Friedman on the Sculpture Garden
Martin Friedman recalls the snowy day in 1987 when Claes Oldenburg unveiled a “captivating object”—his concept for the focal point of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. “There it was—a spoon, whose bowl rested on a small island in the center of a free-form pond and contained a rubicund cherry.” In his 1988 essay from Design Quarterly, Friedman discusses this and the other animating ideas behind the Garden.
Campsick: Julian Bleecker Reports from Alec Soth’s Camp for Socially Awkward Storytellers
Julian Bleecker is campsick these days. “It’s like homesick, but for camp,” he explains. In mid-July, the photographer and futurist took part in the Camp for Socially Awkward Storytellers, hosted by Alec Soth and his team at Little Brown Mushroom. With 14 other artists, he traveled the Twin Cities in an RV—from Soth’s St. Paul studio to a “contested forest” and beyond—in search of stories to share.
The Artist Constructs Himself
Verónica Gerber Bicecci
“The artist builds himself and unmakes himself piece by piece; he self-constructs, as if he were a wall where cement is always wet and bricks can be shifted.” Linking her studies with Abraham Cruzvillegas to her grandfather’s unfinished house, left behind when the family fled Argentina’s dictatorship, Verónica Gerber Bicecci muses on paradigms that allow us to “start anew, because nothing is finished.”